New Year’s Resolution – Being More Present For Your Child

Yes, I did the yearly ritual of making the New Year’s resolutions even before you could say 2013! It has the usual suspects- Lose Weight, Get more “me-time”, get my career sorted (in my case a Work at Home one), Travel and so on. I know some might slip through the months, in fact the way I have been hogging all the yummy winter food the “lose weight” one might not even make it to February.

Being More Present for your Child

But there is one resolution that I have made and I know I am going to keep it not just this year but for many years to come. And that is to be more present for my child.

Being Present has nothing to do with being with your child all the time. Believe me I had myself convinced that as a Stay-at-home mom, I had already given the ultimate gift of time to my daughter. But being in your child’s life with a mindful presence has nothing to do with staying at home or being a working mother.

How often have we found ourselves so busy with the household stuff that we can’t pause to play ball with our kids or build a fort? How often are we immersed in the fabulous and dynamic online world, responding to the tweets and facebook messages as they come while our children long to tell about the fantastic story they heard today? How often have we snapped at our kids for bothering us while we were blogging well ironically, about them?

I know some of you might not have ever felt this way but I am sure some of us have. It is easy to lose perspective and think of these little moments when you have their and your whole lives ahead of you. But then sometimes life gives you a window of clarity where you peek into the future and find your child describing their childhood to someone. Somehow a parent, who wasn’t able to put the phone down, let the dishes wait or shut the laptop off to listen to them, play without a care in the world with them or just let them lie in your lap for some time doesn’t seem a good place to be in.

Thankfully I got this clarity well in time and I decided to not just give time but be present in that time with my child. As I am big on lists I have narrowed down on 5 ways to do this.

1) Be there: Often we feel the urge (or really need to) multitask and juggle a hundred things together but I will strive to just focus on my child when I spend time with her. No more tweeting while pretend playing.

2) Be happy to be there: You can spend all the time in the world with your child but if you are not feeling happy about it then it is absolutely worthless. I will always be enthusiastic and happy about being able to be with her.

3) Be a listener: As a mom I am always telling my daughter to do this, don’t do that or god help you if you do that! I need to take a backseat and let her do the talking sometimes. I will make sure to listen to her point of view on things and look at her perspective even if she is just four.

4) Be Offline : I don’t mean just the internet but I will reserve some time with when the phone will be off (silent or on vibrating doesn’t count), TV won’t be in the background, Xbox will not be considered a bonding time and iPad won’t be used as a babysitter.

5) Be a Child : We often forget to be a child while raising one. I will play silly games, make a mess, have a pillow fight, huddle under a tiny blanket and always remember that my daughter will always treasure these moments the most rather anything else I might do with my time.

I would love for you guys to add to this list with what you already do or would like to do to be more present in your child’s life. Happy New Year everyone!!

Swapna Thomas is a Work at Home Mom and a professional blogger who left the corporate rat race to raise her daughter. She loves shopping, writing, black coffee and DIY decor, in no particular order. You can catch her parenting blog and join her on Twitter @themomviews.

  • Swapna, I guess all moms (well most of em) think alike and you have expressed wonderfully for all of us. Bonding with your child is so crucial… At times we just shooo them away (without even thinking twice… I do that and I feel terrible. Being with them and actually communicating with them tops my list.

  • Thanks Falak for validating my feelings, it feels good to know that other moms are also feeling the same. And yes I am guilty of the “shooing” one too. 🙁

  • I can so very well relate to it :)..and yes I am definitely trying to manage my online time better so I can spend good quality time with her 🙂

    • Hey Vandana LV is a lucky baby that you have already started managing your online time. 🙂

  • Fab

    Completely agree with you, Swapna!! I am with my son at home all the time, but at the end of the day, I can’t remember any ‘quality time’ spent with him!! We really need to make a special effort for it 🙂

    • Yeah Fabida quality time is not such an easy thing to accomplish especially for us SAHMs because we get lost in our daily routine with the kids to think about how we are spending the time with them. 🙂

  • This is a brilliant read. I identify with all that you have written because I am a stay and work from home mom to my boys. I don’t know what to add, but I will make a conscious effort to follow what you have written. And believe me, this article came to me at a time when I was in the introspection mood and asking myself, ” Am I creating happy memories for my children?”

    Thanks a ton!

    • Believe me Pratibha I was also in an introspecting mode when I wrote this and I wasn’t sure whether anyone else was feeling the same. Thanks for making me feel that I am not alone. 🙂

    • Believe me Pratibha I was also in an introspecting mode when I wrote this and I wasn’t sure whether anyone else was feeling the same. Thanks for making me feel that I am not alone. 🙂

  • I couldn’t be agreeing more to this Swapna…you’ve possibly wrote my mind out here 🙂

    • *written

      • I am glad to know that you echo my sentiments Scribby. 🙂

  • So true Swapna. I am at stay at home mom too and I do make sure that I spend quality time with my son. I also feel that finding the right moment to connect with you child is important. You know when you just know that you child is all warmed up and snuggles up to you – that is the moment when you truly connect.

    • I love to snuggle up too Maddie!! My daughter not so much. 🙁
      But you are right we have to find the right moments to connect with the kids.

  • It does become difficult to spend quality time with your child, given that there are so many things which impinge on your time and distract you, and unfortunately, adults do have a tendency to think that these other things are more important than playing silly games with children. Maybe one thing that could help – most of us run our whole lives on schedules, so why not schedule quality bonding time with your child as well? Resolve to spend at least one hour daily with your child with no other interruptions and no other tasks. This could be for an hour after she gets back from school or before she goes to bed – you decide. And this hour could involve any activity – physical play, puzzles, story telling, reading – expect TV or video games. Basically spend the hour playing, chatting, listening….

    If you can actually spend more than an hour with your child exclusively on a daily basis, good for you!

    Soon, both you and your child will start looking forward to this hour that you spend with one another, ignoring the outside world!

    Kritika Srinivasan

    • That is exactly what we are planning to do this year. Husband also needs to pencil in some one-on-one time with the daughter. Thanks for your lovely comment!!

  • You know, we crib about little children’s fascination for mobiles and laptops today but the fact of the matter is they reflect our own obsession with them. So, just a couple of days back I decided, I will not take out my phone or my tab in front of the little one. Even if I did get a call, I would keep it short, and I keep the wi-fi on my phone in the OFF mode during daytime because when you have a mail or a message in whatsapp popping in every few minutes, you just tend to check them.
    I read somewhere, “children are going to be children only for a short while, so give them enough time and cheer”.

    • Love that quote Reema! I definitely need to keep my wi-fi off too.